Average guy, 1947

On The Bleat, James Lileks writes about what’s changed in the media and what hasn’t. From a 1947 book on radio news writing comes a profile of the “average listener.”

“His formal education stopped somewhere between the end of grammar school and the second year of high school.”

The average person – or, more accurately, the average radio news consumer – did not finish high school. Interesting.

“In general, he reads slowly, leisurely, and not too widely or deeply.”

But he reads.

“Newspaper reading is an ingrained habit.”

Wow. To repeat: the average radio news consumer is a high-school drop out who’s also a habitual newspaper reader.

My grandfather and his brothers were newspaper reporters in the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s. They were high school graduates, which was good enough.

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  1. My dad was a newspaper reporter during the ’30s. He met my mom the day they both got kicked out of college, which would appear to mean they would have been considered well educated. Funny how upset they were when I got kicked out of college.

  2. One of Canada’s best journalists is a high school dropout, having dropped out of school in 1950 and having only returned to school to either teach, be a Fellow of Massey College in Toronto, or pick up the odd honorary doctorate.

  3. SuperSub says:

    Well, now we have High School graduates who can’t even read the newspaper. How funny.

  4. Charles R. Williams says:

    I have read some of my grandfather’s 1918 high school textbooks. Most of our college graduates would be unable to understand them.

  5. My father graduated from 9th grade and never went any further. It wasn’t required and there was a depression on, so he had to work to support the family.

    In 1951 he graduated with the 2nd cohort of IBM’s original computer programming school.